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Drug committee visits Subiaco clinic.



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Media Release      Julie Bishop Member for Curtin  

Federal Parliamentary Committee visits Subiaco Naltrexone Clinic Dr George O'Neil's Subiaco Naltrexone Clinic received a bipartisan visit of Federal Parliamentarians yesterday as MPs from across the country took part in the Western Australian sector of a Parliamentary Inquiry into Substance Abuse in the Community.

Member of the Joint Standing Committee on Family and Community Services, Curtin MP Julie Bishop, said she had wanted the Committee to visit Dr O'Neil's clinic during the Perth inquiries, to talk to some of the staff and volunteers who had treated thousands of heroin addicts since the clinic opened.

"Approximately 28,500 people in Australia use illegal heroin each week, and when you multiply that by the number of family and friends who suffer the effects of drug addiction, and the wider community, heroin is certainly one of the most vicious of the addictions," Ms Bishop said.

Dr Andrew Davies of the Australian Medical Procedures Research Foundation who addressed the committee at the clinic, estimated that for every one person who was addicted to heroin, at least six other people are adversely affected.

Ms Bishop said that the State Government had provided a grant of $1 million to fund formal clinical trials of Dr O'Neil's rapid detoxification method.

More recently the State Government committed a further $1 million to the Naltrexone Trust Fund to pay staff salaries and related costs to employ professionally-qualified staff in the treatment and maintenance of formerly opioid-dependent patients who receive Naltrexone treatment through community based services such as the Subiaco clinic.

Recent concerns about the availability of Naltrexone to treat patients at the Subiaco clinic were clarified during the visit, with the announcement by the Office of the Minister for Health, John Day, that supplies had been sourced and would be available until the clinic could receive orders from their usual pharmaceutical firms.

The Committee will conduct a public form hosted by the City of Perth today, where organisations and members of the public have been invited to raise issues related to substance abuse.

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For further information contact Lisa Lehman 9388 0288 or 0417 926 911